Today we come to the last point in 1 Corinthians 13, which is where Paul has been leading us. He has talked about the importance and nature of love. What he is saying is that if you understand the importance of love and the nature of love, it follows that love never fails. All these other things are going to fail. Prophecies, tongues, knowledge - all these will pass away because these things are partial. But where there is love, love will not pass away. He puts faith, hope, and love together, and, he says, "These three remain." I suppose Paul means that they remain through life and through eternity.

1 Corinthians 13 is a portrait of Christ. If you substitute the name of Christ for the word love, it gives us a perfect description of his character. That is why he is so lovely. Jesus Christ is patient. You know what we are like. We produce anything but patience in the reaction of other people, yet Jesus Christ is patient with us. He does not give up. When we sin again and again, when we’re so thick to learn a spiritual lesson, oh, how patient he is!

In the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul is saying that if we love Christ, we ought to love one another. In dealing with the importance of love, it strikes me that John's tests correspond to three kinds of Christianity that we find in our present day. The first kind of Christianity puts an emphasis on the supernatural gifts. The second kind of Christianity emphasizes knowledge of the mysteries of God, a doctrinal, theological approach. Finally, the third kind of Christianity emphasizes doing good deeds.

In the context of the entire book of 1 Corinthians, Paul has repeatedly set love over against the things that the Corinthians thought were most important. He contrasts love with the supernatural gifts. He also contrasts love with the idea of wisdom. In verse 3, Paul contrasts love with doing good deeds, even to the point of becoming a martyr for the sake of something good. He says you can be famous for doing extraordinarily good works, but if you have not love, it profits you nothing.

During the last half of the nineteenth century, an evangelist by the name of Henry Drummond wrote a sermon called "The Greatest Thing in the World." It was about love. It was based on I Corinthians 13, which is certainly one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. If people know anything about 1 Corinthians, this is probably the chapter that comes to mind. This chapter teaches that love is greater than faith, that love is greater than hope.